Ancient mountain passes winding through dramatic valleys, gentle trails cutting a path through sweet-scented pine forest, stunning coastal walks with views of distant islands in the shimmering Mediterranean – the Greek islands boast some of the very best hiking in Europe.
For anyone who loves strapping on their boots and getting off the beaten track, a walking holiday in Greece as a part of your island hopping adventure is absolutely essential, the only question is where will you start?
In this blog, we’ll outline the best Greek islands for hiking, so that you can enjoy that feeling of exploring on your own two feet, stumbling across magical little beaches and local tavernas you’d never find from the road.
It makes sense that Crete, Greece’s largest and most populous island, would be home to some of the best hiking in the country. Thanks to its size, the island has a stunning array of diverse landscapes and hidden villages to explore.
It’s split into three distinct walking areas: the South Coast, the White Mountains, and the famous gorges which, whilst examples can be found all over the island, are mostly concentrated in the west.
One hike you won’t be able to miss for its fame is Samaria Gorge, and for good reason. With 500m high walls, only a few metres apart at their narrowest point, it’s a magical spot made even more beautiful in the springtime by the blooming of wildflowers.
But there is so much more to discover further off the beaten track, for walkers of all levels, from your ramblers to your mountain climbers. Whether you want to scale a mountain peak and scramble up gnarly precipices or wander down to the beach, a walking holiday in Crete is one you’ll remember.
This beautiful little island situated in the Cyclades is another of your best bets for finding beautiful hiking trails, and is a great stop for anyone on a Greek island hopping adventure who wants to find small trails through dramatic mountain scenery, with panoramic views of the sea in all directions.
In fact, the trails are often known as ‘Blue Paths’ by the locals, thanks to their endless sea views, and many of these trails are some of the most dramatic you will find anywhere in Greece.
That said, some paths are so dramatic that you need to take care in high winds as you cross narrow ridges, but if you’re sensible you’ll be rewarded with some seriously exhilarating treks.
Again, there’s a wide variety of walks you can choose from on the island. Whether you want to scale the 821m tall Krokellos, the highest point on the island, stroll down herb bordered paths to the sea, or complete the epic Egiali to Chora hike along the spine of the island, there’s walking and hiking for all levels to be found.
Kefalonia is one of the greenest of the Greek islands, which lends itself very nicely to being one of the most ideal islands for hiking. Ancient roads and tracks link hidden beaches and mountain passes, and the split between forest and the huge mountain massifs create a wonderfully varied landscape for walking.
There are numerous marked trails you can find all over the island that don’t simply take in the natural wonders, but also ruined churches and windmills, ancient temples and rustic little villages.
Hike up to a Venetian fortress in Assos, follow a babbling creek through the woods to take a dip in the Potisti waterfalls, or take on the mighty Mount Ainos, the highest peak in the Ionian islands.
Located just off the west coast of mainland Greece, it’s a great spot to stop off during your sailing holiday on an exploration of the Ionian islands thanks to its unspoiled nature and truly beautiful coastal towns.